Join Jeff Sengstack for an in-depth discussion in this video Meeting the clients and setting expectations, part of Video Journalism: Storytelling Techniques.
I am going to present three examples of how I work with clients to tell their stories, but all the lessons in this course will help you whether you're working for a fee or for free. The initial meeting with the people for whom you're going to work is tremendously important; it sets the tone for all that's to come. Your principal goal is to drill down to the central message of the story they'd like you to tell, but there's much more that should go on in these meetings. In this video I use my visits with my three clients to briefly explain my general approach when meeting with clients for the first time, and then I present some topics in more detail in the other videos in this chapter.
The first order of business is to make a good first impression. (video playing) Jeff: Hi! You're Marty? Marty: Hey! I am. Jeff: I'm Jeff. Pleased to meet you. Marty: Great! Jeff: You've got a partner right? Marty: I do! Kathryn. Jeff: Hi Kathryn, Jeff. Pleased to meet you. Kathryn: Hi! Nice to meet you. Jeff: I'm looking forward to doing this little project together. Marty: Us too! Great! Jeff: Want to talk about it a little bit? I usually try to dress up a bit, I consider my client situation and try to dress one level up from what they might be wearing. Or if there are of the jacket-and- tie set, I at least meet them at that level.
Of course, when I come back to shoot the video, I wear clothes appropriate for that activity. Not all video producers subscribe to this philosophy. I don't fault them for sticking to their personal style, but if you're kind of new to the game, I think it's better to be safe then stylish. Jeff: All right, right. Steve. I'm Jeff. Steve: How are you Jeff? Jeff: I'm great! I can't wait to take a tour. Let's do it. Steve: I'll be interesting. I usually start my initial meeting by taking a tour of the business or other location where I'll be doing the shoot. It gives me a chance to get to know my clients and scout their locations.
I also use the tour in the more formal sitdown meeting later to educate my clients. The reason: most client don't fully understand the video production process. Some think that stories just kind of create themselves. So filling them in on how things work is an important goal. I let them know what can and cannot be done within their budget limitations. I've had clients show me videos produced by major advertising agencies with huge budgets, and then they ask me if I can do the same for considerably less money. Steve: I think that's where the fascination is-- I conclude my meeting by making sure my clients and I are in agreement about several important topics.
We should have a clear understanding about who the audience for the video will be, and what that video's central message will be, and then let them know that I'll write and present them with a barebones outline of the story and it's principal topics, as well as the production plan with a shot sheet. We'll need to agree on all of these items before shooting a single frame of video. Once we have a complete understanding of how the pre-production process is going to play out, I wrap up our meeting. (video playing)
Jeff then presents scripting techniques you can employ to ensure your story engages and entertains your audience. Finally, walk into the production studio where he explains the tools and techniques he uses to edit videos.
- Choosing the message
- Planning the production
- Selecting and using mics
- Lighting the location
- Getting visuals and audio to support the message
- Working with people to help tell the story
- Writing a good story
- Tools and tricks for editing video